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Gov’t Expert: Fallout in California thousands of times higher than we expected for several days after Fukushima explosions — ‘Orders of magnitude’ above estimates at start of crisis, even though estimations based on Chernobyl — Article: Releases at these levels would mean “many hundreds of kilograms” of “many other fission products!” (MAP)

Published: September 23rd, 2014 at 1:01 am ET
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World Meteorological Organization (WMO)– Commission of Aeronautical Meteorology, July 15-17 2014 (emphasis added): Fukushima fully showed reliable source terms for assessing accident severity and consequences in real-time were not readily available in the early phase… The inherent uncertainty involved poses questions in the accuracy of the modelled results which could differ from the observation by orders of magnitude.

Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG), by WMO team member Gerhard Wotawa, et al, 14th Conference on Harmonisation within Atmospheric Dispersion Modelling: Only minutes after the [Unit 1 explosion] was disclosed, the first model simulation of the emergency response system was initiated…source term was estimated based on experiences from Chernobyl… a continuous release rate of [100 quadrillion Bq/day of Iodine-131], [10 quadrillion Bq/day of Cesium-137] and [10 quintillion Bq/day of Xenon-133]… CTBTO [data was used, which has] a very high accuracy… The plume left Japan and… reached the western coast of North America on March 18… [The] ZAMG… estimate amounted to about [400 quadrillion Bq of I-131] and [40 quadrillion Bq of Cs-137]… Indication is found that significant amounts of 131I, 137Cs and 133Xe were already set free during the first days of the accident, exceeding initial estimates by orders of magnitude.

Not only were actual measurements in California thousands of times higher than ZAMG/CTBTO estimates (see chart, Mar. 21, 24-25), the models failed to account for the ‘significant’ amounts of radionuclides initially released — which were ‘orders of magnitude’ beyond predictions. In light of this, it’s worth reviewing the response of nuclear power advocates to Wotawa’s underestimates.

Jan Zeman with consultation from Mr. Ondrej Chvala, Brookhaven National Lab: [Gerhard] Wotawa’s claims are overstatements possibly multiple orders of magnitude higher than the actual reality. This is especially embarrassing as he works for CTBTO… popular “science” journals in USA [have bought] into such “ideas”, because the sensationalism is still extremely high there… [These] most probably startlingly incorrect conclusions [were] presumably designed not just to get media attention and scare the traditional Austrian antinuclear activists, but whole the world… The Cs-137 nuclei… is the most dangerous fission contaminant… it has very high gamma decay energy [and] high affinity to soil [as well as] living organisms… Chernobyl disaster emitted ~36.9 kilograms of Cs-137… Wotawa wants us to believe that almost half of this amount (17.4 kg) of Cs-137, was released into the environment at Fukushima in just one day… Everybody would have problems surviving even just hours in the [plant's] immediate surroundings… [There'd also be] many hundreds of kilograms of [radionuclides such as] Sr-90… Zr-95, Np-239, Mo-99, Ce-141, Ce-144… and many other fission products!… the overheated but intact reactors [note: all 3 not intact] in the intact containments [note: all 3 containments are not intact] were vented [note: venting was unsuccessful] through the pressure suppression chamber water [note: suppression chambers failed]… Three Mile Island accident [is what to compare this to] – as is done by those, who are not so zonked by their greatness… [T]he water is… not spreading far [note: it’s spreading across entire N. Pacific, and beyond], is relatively contained [note: Tepco:,"It’s not under control“] in the underground trench and can be pumped out [note: "pumping it out of tunnels will not work"]… and then decontaminated [note: "impossible to remove hundreds of radioactive materials"]… Mr. Wotawa’s figures… would be immediately dangerous to life… I think the likely orders of magnitude overstated conclusions of the CTBTO employee can serve as the example of the antinuclear exaggerations.

See also: "Not for Distribution, Internal Use Only": US Energy Dept. estimated Fukushima release up to 10,000 times larger than nuclear regulators predicted -- 'Supercore' scenario an underestimate?

Published: September 23rd, 2014 at 1:01 am ET
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355 comments to Gov’t Expert: Fallout in California thousands of times higher than we expected for several days after Fukushima explosions — ‘Orders of magnitude’ above estimates at start of crisis, even though estimations based on Chernobyl — Article: Releases at these levels would mean “many hundreds of kilograms” of “many other fission products!” (MAP)

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